Watching the Netflix original Kingdom, I notice that the English subtitles and dubs sometimes say vastly different things.

In one scene someone says out loud "compose yourself" but the subtitle says "how dare you."

Most of the time it's close enough, but once in a while they are completely different. From the sentence structure, it seems like the dubs are a more accurate translation, but I have no idea.

EDIT: Just to clarify in case someone doesn't know, but the actual spoken words by the actors is Korean. I am watching using the English dubs.

  • Are these official subtitles or ones from an unofficial source? Quite often the subtitles are targetted at specific languages to be more culturally appropriate.
    – Paulie_D
    Feb 20, 2019 at 11:59
  • @Paulie_D i'm watching this on netflix, so I have no idea. I would assume the official ones. Feb 20, 2019 at 15:54
  • @Paulie_D the speaking is dubs though, so wouldn't they also be targetted? Feb 20, 2019 at 17:51
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    The spoken language is Korean, not Chinese in the original. Your English dub would be English spoken language. Don't worry, even the Korean->English translation for subtitles is terrible. I recently watched a Korean movie in an English cinema and the subtitles were also terrible. I think it's a trend.
    – insidesin
    Feb 26, 2019 at 7:25
  • @insidesin Oh! Thank you! I'll edit that, I should have made sure before I posted Feb 26, 2019 at 7:54

2 Answers 2


For people who are not American or British or from any other English-speaking country this would not be weird. The difference between dubbing and subtitles is always present. This is due to the fact, that different people do these translations. Subtitles are usually more accurate since they have no limits and they depend only on a single person translating the script. Dubbing, on the other hand, includes more people in the process, and the lines have limits such as the fact, that they have to be as long as originally spoken lines, sometimes even at least closely match the movement of lips of actors, so that the movie won't look too fake.

Since different people work on these translations they can have different artistic visions for the movie and just use different translation, either to be closer to the oririnal, or to be better in artistic way. You should also count in idioms, sayings, which would not be understood to people in other countries.

For example sometimes "10 miles" could be translated to "10 miles" in different language, or changed to "16 kilometers", if the country uses kilometers instead of miles. These dependes on the vision of the translator, who can either decide that 16 kilometers will be easier to understand for viewers, or leave it at 10 miles, since the number "10" might be shown on the screen later and saying "16" would create confusion.

  • "since they have no limits" Subs have numerous limits, which even depend on the medium etc.
    – BCdotWEB
    Jul 26, 2019 at 15:38
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    @BCdotWEB "no limits" in the context of length
    – TK-421
    Jul 26, 2019 at 16:15
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    This answer make a LOT of sense. Thanks for responding. Jul 26, 2019 at 22:48

One possible reason for this might be that both the audio recording and the subtitles were using the same (or even different versions) of the script to be composed. But the actor/director decided to use different words in the take that was ultimately chosen.

This is just a guess. but given that some subtitles even include additional information such as ambient noises (e.g. "door slams", "radio playing"), it might be a possibility.


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